Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Chess Game

Maybe it was because it was Deadline Day in the House for general bills. Maybe it was because we had spent every day this week in the Chambers debating and questioning every detail in some of the simplest legislation. Maybe it was because it was the last day, and we could draw our line in the sand.

Each faction (whether organized or not; some were not based on party or region, just a few folks who found a common cause together) seemed ready to get their individual shot in today. Bills were killed with procedural rules. Random amendments were brought up to revive them. Objections were raised and then withdrawn. Lots of parliamentary inquiries were made. Shouting (in the form of "aye" and "no") filled the air. The gavel had to have been pounded a couple of hundred times.

If you were an objective, outside observer, these scenes might take you back to elementary school when different groups competed for rule of the playground.

It was at times severely frustrating to see certain bills (some good- such as one that would have helped districts take better care of kids with asthma, or one that would have studied the long-term possibility of state-supported pre-K in Mississippi) bite the dust on procedural votes. However, there were a few bad bills that were defeated in the same manner, some of which I helped go down in a fiery inferno.

Before I took office, people told me the making of laws closely resembled the making of sausage- you may enjoy the final outcome, but the process is one of the uglier scenes you'll ever endure. This week of handling general House bills definitely affirmed the argument.


John Leek said...

Sounds like it would be fun for someone to watch if they weren't invested in any of the bills. Were many folks watching from above?

Toby Barker said...

not really... it was sparse most of the day.